TRACK SEPARATION: THE IMPORTANCE OF TRACKED OUT WAVs
An issue that a lot of artists ask about or often have a question such as: “Is track separation important? Should I invest in the tracked-out files when I lease a beat?” It is a great question, and the answer depends totally on your personal goals as an artist. To begin, I’d like to first define what track separation is. Before getting into it, please understand that there are several terms for track separation, and every producer will call it something different. The following terms all pertain to track separation:
Tracked-Out Wavs or Tracked-Out Files
WAVE Separation or Track Separation
Separated Tracks or Separated WAVS
All of the terms above all pertain to the same process. For the sake of simplicity, I will refer to it as “track separation” for the remainder of this article.
What Is Track Separation?
Track separation is the process of exporting every single individual sound in a beat as its own separate file. Let’s say I just finished a beat which was composed of piano, guitar, bass, a kick drum, a snare drum, an open hi-hat, a closed hi-hat, and orchestral strings. When I track this beat out, each of the aforementioned instruments would be solo’d, separated, and exported into their own separate audio files. The end result would be 8 different audio files, all of the same length, and each would include only one single instrument/sound. You may be wondering why every track is exported as the same length. This is done so that every track can be aligned at the “zero” mark in your recording software, and play at the proper time so that you do not have to manually align each track up when it is supposed to be played. It simply makes it much easier on you.
Why Is Track Separation Important?
So now that you know what track separation is, let’s talk a bit about its importance. When you buy a beat without track separation, you receive one file: The WAV or MP3 file of the fully mixed beat. Because it is only one single mixed file, you do not have the ability to change the volume, panning, or EQ of any single instrument in the beat. Any modification that you make affects every single instrument in the same manner since it is all one mixed file. For example, if you or your sound engineer needed to move the piano a bit to the left because it was clashing with your vocals, they would in effect be panning the entire beat to the left, since the piano is mixed in with all of the other instruments. This would be a catastrophe for your mix, as the entire beat would be panned to the left. If you have the tracked-out WAV files to the beat, you/your engineer have FULL and TOTAL control over EVERY sound in the beat.
So let’s say you have the track separation. You finish recording your vocals, but you find that the piano and guitar are clashing with your vocals. Your sound engineer decides that he/she wants to move the guitar to the left a bit, the piano to the right, and lower their volumes a little bit. Your engineer has the ability to do this if he/she has the tracked-out WAV files to the beat. He can move any sound, EQ any sound, add effects on any sound….basically do whatever he/she needs to do to make your mix sound the best that it can. Please remember that the reason that this is so important is that the entire mix of the beat changes once you add your vocals to it. And because your vocals are the most important part of the song, a lot of times the instruments in the beat need to be changed to compensate for your vocals once they are recorded. Track separation gives you the full control needed to make your song sound the best that it can.
Should I Buy Track Separation When I Buy A Beat?